MASON CITY – The 2022 Pappajohn Entrepreneur Gala celebrated North Iowa’s entrepreneurs on October 11, 2022 at a special recognition event at North Iowa Area Community College in Mason City. Entrepreneurs and businesses across North Iowa were invited to apply for four awards categories: Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year, Student Entrepreneur of the Year, the Innovation Award, and Business of the Year. 13 finalists were named, and the winners were announced at the gala.
The Sukup Family was honored with the Legacy Award. The Legacy Award recognizes an entrepreneur who has made significant contributions to North Iowa through their vision, passion, and leadership. The award was accepted on behalf of the Sukup family by Mary Sukup, Charles Sukup, and Steve Sukup. The Sukup Manufacturing Co. has thrived through nearly 60 years of innovation and thinking outside the box, and remains rooted in the community in which they were founded: Sheffield, IA. The company started with an invention to make life a little easier around the farm, but has grown into a world-renowned company that continues to impact the lives around them.
Drs. Reed and Addision Faldet, DDS, of Hometown Dental (Charles City, IA) received Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Dr. Reed and Dr. Addison Faldet are the founders and owners of Hometown Dental. In 2022, they constructed state-of-the-art dental clinics in Charles City and New Hampton. The new clinics are accompanied by new equipment and technology which enhances quality and efficiency of care, and allows the doctors to see more patients and provide greater access to care. The new clinics will allow the Faldets to address rural dentistry issues as dentists continue to retire in small towns across Iowa. The award was accepted on behalf of Dr. and Dr. Faldet by Lisa Flick of Hometown Dental.
Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalists also included Cody Jane Purvis (Pampered Pets Retreat & Spa; Kanawha, IA) and Austin & Jessica Wood (Charlie’s Soda Fountain; Clear Lake, IA).
Avery Williams of Tea Time (Garner, IA) received Student Entrepreneur of the Year. This award recognizes a student entrepreneur who exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit through the achievement of business ownership. At the age of 14, Avery combined her love for her heritage and healthy ingredients to successfully create her own business – Tea Tim, a boba tea company. After much product research and testing, Avery began selling at her local community group for school and the Farmer’s Market in Clear Lake. All of Avery’s ingredients are sourced locally, follow organic practices, are gluten-free, and contain no artificial ingredients or high fructose corn syrup. Avery also participated in the 2022 Youth Entrepreneurial Academy where she won $500 in seed money for her business plan.
Melissa Fabian of Simply Nourished MC and Foxtrot Properties (Mason City, IA) received Entrepreneur of the Year. Melissa Fabian is the Owner/CEO of Simply Nourished Mason City and Foxtrot Properties. Simply Nourished is a modernized neighborhood grocery store focused on an under-served population, and dedicated to creating community connections. By focusing on locally sourced products, Simply Nourished supports the local farmers and producers who play a vital role in our regional economy, helping them create jobs and cultivate land, crops, and livestock. Through Foxtrot Properties, Melissa is renovating a historic building, preserving a piece of architecture and revitalizing downtown Mason City. By combining fairly priced upper story housing with locally owned businesses, Melissa and her team are leading the way in helping Mason City thrive.
Entrepreneur of the Year finalists also included Lindsey R. Falk (LR Falk Construction Co.; St. Ansgar, IA) and Dr. Jay Lala, Dr. Matthew Hansen, Dr. Jennifer Thackery, Dr. Briana Brayton, and Dr. Rick Young, DDS (Central Park Dentistry; Mason City, IA).
Jill and Troy Ihrke of Easy2Show (Sheffield, IA) received the Innovation Award. Easy2Show is a completely integrated software (SaaS platform) used to manage competitions and exhibitors, as well as clubs. They are “using technology to improve competition”. Their patent pending software process moves data in more than a linear direction, which allows an automated sharing of information between the three segments. By eliminating manual data entry and utitilizing mobile devices to record results, data collection from these events can now be used to drive involvement and sales. Their current software is written for and being used for Rabbit & Cavy Shows across the United States and Canada.
Innovation Award finalists also included Jordan Bielefeld (UpTower, Inc.; St. Ansgar, IA) and Ryan Malek (Router12 Networks; Mason City, IA).
Henkel Construction Co. (Mason City, IA) received Business of the Year. Henkel Construction was founded in 1892 by William Henkel, who laid the foundation of tradition upon which their company continues to expand by combining the best “old school” philosophies and materials with new technologies that offer improvement and value. Considered one of the premier construction service providers in North Iowa, their success lies not only in hiring the right people, but also in creating an environment for their personal and professional development. Henkel Construction has worked on a wide array of projects over the years, like schools, industrial, commercial, and historic landmarks, including the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center that was built on the NIACC campus in 2000.
Business of the Year finalists also included Heartland Asphalt (Mason City, IA) and MetalCraft, Inc. (Mason City, IA).
The NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center is the expert in rural business innovation and success. In partnership with North Iowa’s Small Business Development Center, together, they provide tools, support, and resources to Iowa’s entrepreneurs.